- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Leventhal vs. Abrams

Several things have been said about Steve Abrams over the years that have surprised and dismayed us, but, as dutiful and respectful daughters of a public figure, we took them all in stride and have always kept our reactions to ourselves. That is, until Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal’s outrageous statement in Saturday’s edition: “Steve Abrams holds so many grudges … I don’t think he’s got room for them in his mansion in Potomac” (“Perez’s attorney general bid hit,” Metropolitan, Saturday).

As he is our father, we have known Steve Abrams our entire lives. As far as we know, he and our mom have always lived, and still live, in the same four-bedroom house in Rockville that they moved into in 1974.

In that home, we grew up participating in Rockville city camps, attending public schools in Rockville and graduating from Richard Montgomery High School. Rockville is where our dad served on the City Council for nine years, where he has lived during his three terms on the Montgomery County Board of Education and where he lived during his more than 20-year career of public service in the federal government.

It’s the home where our dad taught us the importance of being good citizens and of speaking up for what we believe in.

We beg of Mr. Leventhal to please direct us to this “mansion.” After all, as Mr. Abrams’ daughters, if such a mansion exists, we would like to frolic in its meadows, take a ride on its yacht and — at least — store all of those boxes of stuff from college that our mother made us clean out last month. If there is an entire room for these purported “grudges,” there should at least be room for our old college sweatshirts.

Alas, such a mansion exists only in Mr. Leventhal’s mind. His mean-spirited comment reflects more on his grudges than our dad’s. As an elected public official, Mr. Leventhal should check his facts before he speaks.

ELISIA ABRAMS

New York

JENNIFER ABRAMS

New York

Balkan realities

Tod Lindberg is right that the EU and NATO countries should not turn their backs on Balkan countries wishing to share in the peace and prosperity of the new Europe. However, he is wrong to suggest that it was only Slobodan Milosevic’s “genocidal policies” that set the Balkans in flames in the early 1990s and wrong to condemn Serbian determination to maintain Kosovo as an integral part of its territory (“Where Milosevic’s butchery held sway,” Op-Ed, July 11).

It has become fashionable to blame Milosevic and Serbia for everything that went wrong in the former Yugoslavia while overlooking the concerns of the Christian Serbian population in Bosnia and in Kosovo at the grim prospects of having to live in Muslim-dominated states.

Alia Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosnian leader, was an Islamist extremist who made no attempt to hide his plans for destroying the Christian entity in Bosnia, writing, “There can be no peace or co-existence between the Islamist faith and non-Islamist institutions.” As for Agim Ceku, the so-called prime minister of Kosovo, the Canadian military knows what crimes he is guilty of even if the Hague Tribunal refused to indict him.

In 1993, Mr. Ceku commanded Croatian forces that violated a U.N.-brokered cease-fire and overran three Serbian villages in the Medac pocket. When the Canadians counterattacked and re-entered the burned villages, they discovered all of the inhabitants and domestic animals had been slaughtered. Mr. Ceku later also ordered undefended Serbian villages shelled in violation of the rules of war, causing heavy casualties among the civilian population.

In 2002, Mr. Ceku was indicted by Serbia for responsibility as a Kosovo Liberation Army commander for the murders of 669 Serbians and other non-Albanians during the fighting that broke out in Kosovo in 1998. The indictment includes murder, abduction, torture and ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population from Kosovo. This is the man recently invited to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a meeting obviously planned to show U.S. support for Kosovo independence.

For many outside observers, including this writer, the continued support by the United States for an independent Kosovo is incomprehensible. Granting independence to Kosovo would be a serious violation of Serbia’s territorial integrity, which is one of the most cherished principles of international law and is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. U.S. violation of this principle would have far-reaching implications for the very framework of international peace and security.

Independence for Kosovo also would create a criminal and terrorist state in the heart of the Balkans. This is not a happy prospect in today’s world.

Kosovo independence would set a precedent for other aspiring ethnic groups for independent status and would destabilize not only the Balkans, but many other parts of the world. It also would mark a low point in U.S. foreign policy. It is difficult to be held up as the champion of the rule of law, of democracy and the global war on terror, while at the same time giving support to war criminals and terrorists.

JAMES BISSETT

Former Canadian ambassador

to the former Yugoslavia

Ottawa

Concealing Nazi crimes

You are to be commended for your coverage of the Nazi archives stored in the German town of Bad Arolsen, the world’s biggest repository of files pertaining to the Holocaust (“Nazis’ diabolical legacy,” Briefing/Global Issues, Monday).

Most people are unaware of the existence of this source of information and are astounded that access to these crucial records by scholars, journalists and family members has been denied consistently. Meanwhile, claims against the German government by former concentration camp inmates and those forced to perform slave labor have by now missed deadlines for compensation because of lack of documentation — the very information contained in these files.

Excuses given include the German government’s concern for individuals’ privacy rights and the fact that the records could prove embarrassing to certain individuals. However, none of this excuses the authorities from being complicit in the concealment of Nazi war crimes. After 61 years, the world has a right to know.

VICTOR CHOLEWICKI

Washington

The truth about the morning-after pill

It is a great irony that Clarence Page blames black parents for the staggering black crime rate in many cities. He accuses black parents of failing to raise their children properly, but he has helped undermine the authority of black parents to guide their children (“Crimes make a comeback,” Commentary, Tuesday).

Mr. Page’s solution to reducing unintended pregnancies, which negatively affect blacks at disproportionate rates, was to make the morning-after pill available to youngsters without parental knowledge. This would further erode the parents’ authority and make more children into parents, because, as reported, access to the morning-after pill does not reduce pregnancy (“Morning-after pill access fails to cut pregnancy rate,” Nation, Jan. 5, 2005).

Also, there are studies showing that pregnancies increase where the pill is available in schools and over the counter to children because more children engage in sex there.

Mr. Page’s policies are helping to send more children over what he calls the “social cliff” to lives of crime. He and other black leaders must advocate policies that reduce teen pregnancy, illegitimacy and immature parents in order to reduce crime.

JOHN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring